How to Forward Delete on iPad Keyboard

Jul 13, 2021 - 3 Comments

iPad Magic Keyboard

iPad users may be interested in learning how to perform a forward delete with the iPad Smart Keyboard or iPad Magic Keyboard.

As you probably know, the standard delete key on the iPad keyboards deletes backwards, but another keystroke offers the ability to perform a forward delete on iPad as well.

Forward Delete on iPad Magic Keyboard & Smart Keyboard with Control + D

Rather than pressing the delete key, to forward delete you can use another keystroke: Control + D

Simply navigate your cursor to where you want to forward delete, then press Control + D together to forward delete.

For what it’s worth, Control + D also works to forward delete on a Mac, but so does fn + Delete, which is typically used more often by Mac users. Of course the iPad keyboards do not have an fn key, so this is not an option for iPad users.

Globe Key + Delete also does Forward Delete on iPad Keyboards, but…

For what it’s worth, Globe key + Delete serves as Forward Delete as well, but that does not appear to work reliably for many users on modern iPadOS versions with either the iPad Smart Keyboard Folio or iPad Magic Keyboard.

The reason this seems to fail for most users is because the Globe key triggers the Emoji search and Emoji picker on iPad keyboards, and that gets in the way of the Forward Delete functionality (Globe key being an Emoji key may be unnecessary to some ipad users because Control+Spacebar opens the Emoji picker on iPad too). Additionally, some iPad users remapped the Globe key to be an ESC escape key since iPad keyboards do not have an ESC key and some users wonder how to use ESCAPE, and that functionality also seems to prevent the Forward Delete behavior from working with the Globe key as well.

If you can tolerate the Emoji picker flying up and you try mashing the Globe+Delete buttons repeatedly, you’ll likely get Forward Delete to start working, but it’s inconsistent and frustrating enough that using Control+D is a much better option. Disabling the Globe key by setting it to have no function does not improve the experience.

Perhaps this will get worked out in a future iPadOS version, but for the time being, use Control+D for Forward Delete on iPad Magic Keyboard and iPad Smart Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio, it works and it’s reliable and simple enough.

Know of another method of using Forward Delete on iPad keyboards? Let us know in the comments!

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, Tips & Tricks

3 Comments

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  1. Peter says:

    Forward delete is kind of a hangover from the Windows world. What is so hard about navigating the cursor before what you want to delete, then pressing the Delete key?

    • Joseph says:

      This is NOT a hold over from Windows. I’m a Mac programmer, and I can tell you that anyone who works with technical text uses forward delete. Have a look at the full-sized APPLE keyboard, you will see forward delete. Also, the compact keyboard uses fn-delete, which is sensible enough. KEEPING globe-delete makes sense, especially in light of the other functions you can “remap” to. Lack of forward-delete is a gross omission for those who navigate through non-natural-language text. Efficiency is king here, and moving forward to then move backwards is both a literal and conceptual waste.

  2. Kurt from Salish says:

    Smiley Face Key / Globe Key / Emoji Key + Delete Key works for me about 10% of the time and I can’t predict when or why. What a weird feature for Apple to implement at 10% rear-end, not even a half rear-end, but a 10% rear-end.

    Why does the Smile Globe Emoji key exist? It’s a key for kids, is that what the iPad Pro is for? Expensive for kids!

    For what it’s worth, I NEVER use the Emoji key, so it would be nice to be able to use it as a modifier key to access other real features and abilities. Yea I have mine configured to do other stuff already but I did that because I kept accidently hitting it and got so annoyed with the Emoji picker flying up I thought I was about to switch to Windows.

    Also I am disappointed the iPad keyboard does not have FN keys and Escape key.

    And while on the subject, I am disappointed iPad does not have support for multiple windows on the screen at the same time since Split View is a mess and the multitasking is so confusing that nobody uses it or can explain how it works. Even the CTO at work can’t figure out iPad multitasking, what’s that tell you? Just put some windowing capabilities on there.

    I like iPad but it is trying to do too much for it’s capabilities. It’s also very expensive for what it is. Any time I price out the bigger iPad Pro I just decide I should get a Mac instead, which is a real productivity platform. I spend most of my iPad time on the couch, it’s a good web browser, but for $1400 with keyboard you would expect it to do a lot more.

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